Market Overview

Report Says Snap Extorted Money From Anti-Gun Charity

Report Says Snap Extorted Money From Anti-Gun Charity

Talk about bad timings for a scandal.

Snap Inc (which will trade post-IPO on the NYSE under the ticker SNAP) the parent company of the popular Snapchat app, allegedly coerced a gun safety charity into buying advertising space on its social media platform.

According to Mic, Snapchat told a nonprofit gun safety charity called Everytown for Gun Safety that if it did not buy advertising space on Snapchat, then Snapchat would run a series of ads from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The allegations were published just one day before Snap's stock will begin trading for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange.

Mic, citing emails provided by a source close to the matter, continued that the nonprofit gun safety charity, which is backed by Michael Bloomberg, spoke with Snapchat in early 2016 about advertising options to promote the National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Snap's head of political sales, Rob Saliterman, gave a quote of at least $150,000 to the charity group with the option of creating custom filters and lenses.

See Also: Gadfly's Shira Ovide Warns Snap Investors: Buying The IPO Is 'An Act Of Lunacy'

However, Saliterman was unaware that at the same time he was talking with the charity group, Snapchat's news team reached out to the same group to discuss a partnership. Snapchats editorial team also offered to show for free one of Everytown's event that featured high-profiled celebrities.

In other words, the charity group was essentially negotiating for paid advertising space on the social media platform while simultaneously being offered free publicity through a partnership. So, why would any nonprofit group choose the option where it has to pay six digits?

The Saga Continues

Saliterman was made aware that the News and Editorial team was also in contact with the nonprofit group in May.

Mic went on to post a transcript of the e-mail Saliterman allegedly sent to Everytown, which read, "I just learned our News Team is doing a Live Story on National Gun Violence Awareness Day. I would urgently like to speak with you about advertising opportunities within the story, as there will be three ad slots. We are also talking to the NRA about running ads within the story."

Saliterman also pointed out that Snap has indeed previously hosted advertisements from the NRA in 2015 during a presidential debate, so he is unlikely to be bluffing.

He followed up in another e-mail once Everytown said the $150,000 price tag was too much.

"To be clear, the story has the potential to be bought by any advertiser, including the NRA, which will enable the advertiser to run three 10-sec video ads within the story," Saliterman allegedly wrote.

Ultimately, Everytown backed away from partnering with Snap or paying for advertising space. For its part, Snapchat did run its own Live Story called "Guns in America."

Neither Snap nor Everytown responded to Mic's multiple requests to comment on the story.


Related Articles (SNAP)

View Comments and Join the Discussion!

Posted-In: Everytown For Gun Safety Gun control gunsNews Management IPOs Media General Best of Benzinga